Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Family Lore Clinic: How can a contact order be enforced following 22 April 2014 family law changes?

I assume that this is referring to the introduction of child arrangements orders on the 22nd of April, and their effect upon contact enforcement orders under section 11J of the Children Act. Under s.11J(2) if the court is satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that a person has failed to comply with a contact order it may make an enforcement order, imposing on that person an unpaid work requirement, i.e. community service.

Child arrangement orders are being introduced by s.12 of the Children and Families Act 2014, and will replace residence and contact orders. So, if contact orders no longer exist, what will happen to contact enforcement orders?

The answer is that they will continue as before, save that the references in s.11J are now to child arrangements orders, rather than contact orders. Accordingly, the court will now be able to make them if a person fails to comply with a provision of the child arrangements order.

For the full amendments to s.11J see Schedule 2 of the Children and Families Act.

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